Version anglaise ; version française en-dessous
It is often said that the USA was born from an idea, an ideal. It has existed as a conception of the mind even before becoming a nation. This ideal of democracy is what guided the Founding Fathers in the 18th century in their fight against tyranny : they saw King George III as a tyrant, who had abused of his power by imposing new taxes upon them, simply because America was an English colony. So they decided to rebel against that authority they considered illegitimate. They were inspired by the philosophy of Enlightenment, in particular John Locke's theories. For him, revolution becomes a right when rulers are tyrannical. Thus the idea of fighting for liberty gave birth to a nation : that is why today, for a lot of people all over the world, the USA remains a model of democracy.
However, over the last few weeks, a lot of questions have been raised about the health of the American democracy. In 2000, we had already the impression that something was wrong, when George Bush stole the presidential election from the real winner, Al Gore. Eight years later, it seems that the Democratic Party has forgotten too the meaning of the word "democratic" which is to be found in its name. The way the party leaders selected their nominee for the 2008 presidential election is not a good example of democracy ; we may even say that is exactly the contrary.
Several times on this blog we accused the DNC of being responsible for this farce . But today, we are starting to question the honesty of some superdelegates of the party...
They were the ones who chose Obama in June whereas he had not reached the sufficient number of pledged delegates. The problem is that a video released recently makes us wonder whether those superdelegates were not for sale, and whether Obama has not bought them !
Let's question their motivation first : why exactly did they choose Obama, and not Hillary Clinton ? One might think they were motivated only by their great desire to make their party win in november, and they selected the one they considered the best candidate. That would be logical and normal. Well, it's wrong ! This video shows they were guided by a much more down-to-earth reason : the money necessary to their (re)election.
Don't think we are being naive : money rules the political life, this is not something new. It has always been the case, and not only in the USA. In France, for example, in 2007, Nicolas Sarkozy won the presidential election because his party, the UMP, had managed to collect an extraordinary amount of money for his campaign. And of course this money helped him a lot.
In the USA this year, Obama took the edge over Hillary in fund-raising, and she had to withdraw in June because her campaign debt was too huge : she could not reasonably go on.
So far, that is politics as usual ! But what is really shocking and embarrassing for superdelegates now is that we discover that these people, whose names and faces are on the video, supported Barack Obama although the voters in their own state, even in their own district, had chosen Hillary (and sometimes by a very wide margin...). After seeing this clip we understand this strange paradox : in fact, they gave their vote to Obama because he gave them more money than Hillary for their electoral campaign (in some cases Hillary Clinton did not give them anything).
Quite revolting, isn't it ? All the more as we had been told many many times that those primaries had been a tremendous success, an extraordinary democratic process : for the first time people had voted in unprecedented numbers and had had the chance of being heard ; etc... What we realize today is that this primary election was SOLD, sold to the richest customer : you vote for ME, because I give you more money than her... Isn't that disgusting ? What is it all about : a fierce bargaining or a presidential election ?
Obama collected millions and millions of dollars. With such an amount of money, he can buy everyone and anything, his nomination included. And this is currently going on : in case some delegates might be willing not to vote for him during the Convention, if there is a roll call vote with Hillary Clinton's name put in nomination, he can continue to exert the same kind of pressure : some superdelegates are running for reelection.
Here is another disturbing fact : now these superdelegates have to ask the Obama team to get some additional funding for their campaign (money that the DNC generally grants to all the Democratic candidates). Now all the operations made by this DNC department have been moved for the first time, and are part of the organization that manages Obama's presidential campaign, located in Chicago. This implies that all the candidates who want to obtain more money must necessarily campaign for Obama. If they don't, they are not given anything !
What is to be concluded from all this ? The answer is clear : a lot of superdelegates had a pistol to their heads in June, and had no other choice but to say they supported Obama. This is not what they should have done, if Democracy had been respected. They should have said they were waiting for the convention to take place : as neither Obama nor Hillary had the necessary number of delegates, they should have gone to Denver and vote for the candidate they considered the most likely to win against John McCain.
But the truth is that at the moment, they must have a lot of regrets...
Yes, Superdelegates, you must be realizing that you have made a terrible mistake !
First, everyday, you read the polls. Well, they're not so good. They are even becoming worse and worse. Where's the bounce that was supposed to happen after Obama's World Tour ? Not only is there no bounce, but there is a stagnation, sometimes a fall...
Yet, Obama was shown in Europe and the Middle-East next to some very important people : heads of states or heads of governments. He was greeted by big crowds, especially in Berlin. In France, President Sarkozy treated him as if he had already been elected... So what ?
Americans have not changed their minds at all about Obama's ability to become Commander-in-chief. They continue to think McCain is more credible in this role. That must be a terrible disappointment for the Obama camp, who had thought that travelling for a few days around the world would be enough to make people change their minds ! A new poll has just shown the figures remain unchanged : people do not trust Obama as Commander in chief :
Obama Maintains Lead; McCain Ahead As Commander In Chief | AHN | August 8, 2008
What's more, what he said about the war in Georgia yesterday is another proof that he is definitely not an expert at foreign affairs. His declaration, made just before going on vacation to Hawaï was a striking contrast with that of John McCain :
No need to add anything !
What happened to the Teflon candidate, the one to whom the attacks don't stick ?
His European tour looked like that of a rock star : this is really not what American people were expecting from a candidate running for president : they rather worry about their daily life, the subprime crisis or the price of gas as winter is approaching. The Iraq question was certainly a major issue in his electoral platform. Nonetheless, people trust McCain, not him, to solve this problem. The paradox is that at the same time, the current administration is considered as a total failure in its handling of the war. And John McCain is the Republican candidate, not Obama. It shows how deep their lack of confidence in Obama is . It is more important than the hostility they feel toward the Republican Party because of its disastrous foreign policy. No, these are really not good news for Obama, all the more as his polls on other issues are not so good either.
Now more and more people are questioning the lack of substance in his candidacy, reaching the worrying conclusion that Obama is nothing but an empty box !
Well, superdelegates, I am sure you are perfectly aware of all this ! And now you fear the voters' backlash...
Because now voters are questioning you. They want to know. They want you to explain yourselves about what they have seen in the video. Your names and addresses are visible on the Internet, so they are writing to you or calling you in great numbers to ask you to reconsider your vote. And they clearly threaten you not to vote for those of you who have betrayed them (in November) if you do not change their minds at the convention.
So let me give you this piece of advice : you'd better vote for Hillary if you are given this possibility in two weeks. You'd better respect the choice of the people you represent. Or else, you could well lose your (re) election to the Senate or the House of Representatives. A primary election which has just taken,place in Georgia should come as a warning to you : the candidate who had voted against Obama won, and won big (60% of the votes).
Are Georgia Voters Sending Obama A Message? : NO QUARTER
Everything considered, I would not like to be in those people's shoes. They must really feel bad, at the moment. Their names and faces have been publicly displayed : they have been accused of being "for sale" : that must be quite humiliating !
And yet, I don't feel sympathetic. Because they still have an opportunity to redeem themselves : the convention has not started yet. So if they want to be able to look at themselves in a mirror again, they perfectly know what they have to do.
It is not too late. As the saying goes : "It only takes a narrow mind to always stick to its guns." !